Improvement in the Capacity for Activity Versus Improvement in Performance of Activity in Daily Life During Outpatient Rehabilitation

Catherine E. Lang, Carey L. Holleran, Michael J. Strube, Terry D. Ellis, Caitlin A. Newman, Meghan Fahey, Tamara R. DeAngelis, Timothy J. Nordahl, Darcy S. Reisman, Gammon M. Earhart, Keith R. Lohse, Marghuretta D. Bland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Background and Purpose: We addressed questions about the potential discrepancy between improvements in activity capacity and improvements in activity performance in daily life. We asked whether this discrepancy is: 1. Common in routine, outpatient care, or an artifact of intervention studies? 2. Unique to upper limb (UL) rehabilitation, or is it seen in walking rehabilitation too? 3. Only seen in persons with stroke, or a broader neurorehabilitation problem? Methods: A longitudinal, observational cohort of 156 participants with stroke or Parkinson disease (PD) receiving outpatient rehabilitation at 5 clinics was assessed around admission and monthly during their episode of care. Individual, longitudinal capacity (Action Research Arm Test or walking speed) and performance (wearable sensor measurements of use ratio or steps/day) data were modeled to extract predicted change scores. Simulation methods were used to determine whether an individual’s change was greater than 1 standard error. Participants were classified into categories based on whether or not they improved in capacity (C+ or C−) and/or performance (P+ or P−). Results: A majority (59%) were classified as C+P−. Smaller portions of the sample were classified as C+P+ (20%) and C−P− (21%), with 1 participant (<1%) classified as C−P+. The proportions in the C+P− category were significantly larger in the stroke (χ2 = 48.7, P < 0.0001) and PD (χ2 = 24.3, P < 0.0001) walking subgroups than in the stroke UL subgroup. Discussion and Conclusions: The discrepancy between improvements in capacity and performance is a problem in routine, outpatient neurorehabilitation. If performance information were available, patients and clinicians could act to address it.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)16-25
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Neurologic Physical Therapy
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2023


  • Parkinson disease
  • measurement
  • outcomes
  • stroke
  • upper limb


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